'Fallen Angels' Review: A voyeuristic ode to Hong Kong

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Darshana Singh 

Fallen Angels

Fallen angels is a 1996 Hong Kong movie directed by Wong Kar Wai. It is surprisingly one of the most underrated films directed by him.

It is the celebration of classic Wong Kar Wai cinema with pixelated framings, claustrophobic spaces surrounding the character, alienation in a crowd, and melancholic narration of individual characters. But, unlike many of his films, he has taken the aesthetics to an extreme with tilted framings and flooding scenes with pop music signifying the American wave influenced Hong Kong in the 90s.

But unlike Chungking Express where each character dreams to break free from their monotonous life, Fallen Angels features outcasts and rebels who are trying to find stability in life. But, the theme of loneliness and romanticism continues to follow.

The movie has two separate stories running in parallel but the characters often casually cross paths in the end quite like Pulp Fiction. It follows the life of an assassin, his agent, and a crazy delinquent. The narration is more than the dialogues of the protagonists, communicating their inner feelings and life convictions. Each character has a sense of hope to find a better companion in the dazzling and rushed mean streets of Hong Kong.

The tilted camera angles and the giant empty subway spaces focus on characters, communicating the darkness and aloofness surrounding them. The blurred neon lights, pixelated sparks of assassin’s shooting or showing the visual intensity of moving bike, Fallen Angels is the best piece of art achieved by the creative teamwork of Christopher Doyle, Mark Lee Ping-Bing, and Chan Kwok- Hung to visually study the Hong Kong pop culture in Wong Kar Wai style. 

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!

About Author

Darshana (Instagram Blog: https://www.instagram.com/svatantra_sinema/) is a design graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology. She has immense admiration for independent, arthouse regional, and foreign language films. For her, cinema is an amalgamation of all art forms (music, photography, theatre, and dance). She believes in the humanity of all fictional and real characters portrayed in films around the world which binds us together beyond language barriers.

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